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The Influence of Yellow Journalism

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There were many aspects that contributed to the Spanish American War.

Those aspects ranged from economic struggles, to the race to Asia. One of the most important contributions to the Spanish American War was Yellow Journalism. Yellow Journalism is the type of journalism that relies on sensationalism and lurid exaggeration to attract readers (“Dictionary. com”). In other words, Yellow Journalism was exaggerated journalism that writers used to attract more readers. Overall, there were many ways that Yellow Journalism contributed to the Spanish American War.

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The overall reason that the Spanish American War was fought was over the liberation of Cuba from Spain (War and Conflict: Pre-Twentieth Century – Why Was The Spanish-American War Fought? ). A major factor that contributed to the Spanish American War was the sinking of The Maine. It happened on February 25, 1898. The explosion and sinking of The Maine killed over 200 men (War and Conflict: Pre-Twentieth Century – Why Was The Spanish-American War Fought? ). The whole situation was described by Charles D.

Sigsbee, “ . . . It was a bursting, rending, and crashing roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character.

It was followed by heavy, ominous metallic sounds. There was a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, a list to port. The electric lights went out. Then there was intense blackness and smoke. The situation could not be mistaken. The Maine was blown up and sinking. For a moment the instinct of self-preservation took charge of me, but this was immediately dominated by the habit of command”. The sinking of The Maine was very important to the contribution of the Spanish American War. Since the sinking of The Maine was such a big deal, it left a lot of room for Yellow Journalism to take over.

The American press did not have any doubts about who had been responsible for the sinking of The Maine. “It was the cowardly Spanish,” said the American press (The Spanish-American War; Yellow Journalism). The New York Journal actually published pictures in addition to their exaggerated stories. They had showed how the Spanish saboteurs, or ones that practiced sabotage (Merriam Webster Dictionary), had fastened an underwater mine to The Maine and had blown it up from the shore of where they were located (The Spanish-American War; Yellow Journalism). One article, that was a Yellow Journalism article about The Maine, had said “The estruction of Maine did not cause the U. S. to declare war on Spain, but it served as a catalyst, accelerating the approach to a diplomatic impasse. In addition, the sinking and deaths of U. S. sailors rallied American opinion more strongly behind armed intervention,” (The Destruction of the USS Maine). The American press greatly exaggerated the sinking of The Maine. They did not exactly lie about the facts, but they amplified the facts to make it seem a lot worse. One specific way that Yellow Journalism contributed to the Spanish American War was because of the influence that the American press had on the country as a whole.

American Press was very popular during the time and was greatly used across the country. Since the press was one of the few ways that the people of the United States received information about what was going on outside of where they lived, it was highly trusted (The Spanish-American War; Yellow Journalism). The major contributors of the newspaper business, such as William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, basically competed for readers’ attention. Hearst, who ran the New York Journal, said, “You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war. (Liukkonen). This famous quote speculates that Hearst indeed wanted the war between the Spanish and the Americans. He did numerous articles proclaiming how the Spaniards were treating the Cubans. His major reporters wrote stories on “female prisoners, executions, valiant rebels fighting, and starving women and children” (Crucible of Empire; Yellow Journalism). These stories were printed to get the sympathy of American readers. Pulitzer ran the New York World (Crucible of Empire; Yellow Journalism). Pulitzer wrote stories similar to that of Hearst.

He had some manipulation into the start of the Spanish American War as well. For example, to show his power, Pulitzer wrote an article urging President McKinley to declare war on Spain (Liukkonen). He also published articles about The Maine. They both had the determination to reach an audience of one million on a daily basis, and they certainly did not mind fabricating some of their stories in order to attain that goal (The Spanish-American War; Yellow Journalism). At the time of the Spanish American War, there was not a lot of technology around. All they had back then was the printing press.

The newspapers would create stories about things such as horrific tales that had described the situation in Cuba. These stories were about female prisoners, executions, valiant rebels fighting, and starving women and children (Crucible of Empire; Yellow Journalism). If the printing press back then had access to the technology that we have today, the war would be changed drastically considering all of the fabricated stories. Yellow Journalism contributed to the Spanish American War greatly. Not only did it fabricate stories about what was going on, but it also made the situations a lot worse than it needed to be.

Although Yellow Journalism was not the sole reason that the Spanish American War began, but it was a major factor that contributed. After this time period, Yellow Journalism was not very popular. The practice of it was frowned upon by Americans and their circulation of their papers declined rapidly, but Yellow Journalism never went away. In today’s society newspapers still use Yellow Journalism. It can be found in magazines such as The Enquirer, The Star, and The Globe. Yellow Journalism has an effect on society no matter what time period. OPVL Word Count: 239

Source: A Quote from Charles D. Sigsbee Origin: The origin of this source is Charles D. Sigsbee. Charles D. Sigsbee was the commander of the USS Maine, which was destroyed during the Spanish American War. Purpose: The purpose was to show what had happened during the attack on the Maine ship. Values: One value of this source is it helps people understand what it was exactly like to be there, in that moment, while the Maine was being attacked. Limitation: One limitation of this source would be that it was only from one person and it could be different than a lot of other people’s opinions.

The description that was given by Sigsbee could have very well been over exaggerated as well. Source: “Crucible Of Empire : The Spanish-American War – PBS Online. ” Origin: The origin of this source is from PBS. Purpose: The purpose of this source is to let people know about the Spanish American War. It goes into detail about how “Yellow Journalism” contributed to the war. Values: One value of this source is it gives information on William Randolph Hearst, who was a famous “yellow” journalist. Another value is the source gave decent information on the whole concept of “Yellow Journalism”.

Limitations: One limitation of the source was it did not give enough information on the Joseph Pulitzer. They only skimmed over him while for William Hearst they went into much more detail into how he contributed to the war. Another limitation of the source was that it did not have that many examples of what the articles headlines would say.

Works Cited

“Crucible Of Empire : The Spanish-American War – PBS Online. ” PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. . Liukkonen, Petri. “Joseph Pulitzer. ” Www. kirjasto. sci. fi. Ari Pesonen. Kuusankosken Kaupunginkirjasto, 2008. Web. 1 Dec. 2010 “Remember the Maine. ” Small Planet. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. . Saari, Peggy. “War And Conflict: Pre-Twentieth Century – Why Was The Spanish-American War Fought?. ” History Fact Finder. Ed. Julie L. Carnagie. UXL-GALE, 2001. eNotes. com. 2006. 30 Nov. 2010. “USS MAINE. ” Naval History and Heritage Command. 13 Aug. 2003. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. . “Yellow Journalism — Britannica Online Encyclopedia. ” Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 30 Nov. 2010. .

Cite this The Influence of Yellow Journalism

The Influence of Yellow Journalism. (2017, Jan 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-influence-of-yellow-journalism/

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